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Robberies in Boystown; police comments criticized
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-06-11

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In what appears to be a string of iPhone robberies to hit Boystown over the weekend, officers on a police-scanner recording were heard making comments that may not sit well with many residents.

On an exchange, police officers suggested that a robbery victim brought the crime on himself by staying out late and associating with "boys in dresses."

According to police, a Latino man was robbed of his phone at approximately 5:15 a.m. Sunday morning on the 800 block of West Belmont Avenue. Police described the offenders as "five male Black" offenders. One, wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans, punched the victim in the face before the group rifled through his pockets and stole his phone.

The victim was not transported to the hospital, and no one is in custody.

A police-scanner exchange that appears to refer to the same incident suggests that the attackers may have been transgender women or gender non-conforming people in their 20s.

An officer described the robbers as "four male Blacks that were dressed as female."

"If [you] wouldn't stay out so late, this wouldn't happen," said one person on the scanner.

"If you wouldn't mess with boys in dresses this wouldn't happen," responded another.

Both comments may hit sore spots for many LGBT Chicagoans. Last summer, a string of highly publicized violent attacks in the neighborhood set many residents on edge. Most recently, LGBT community groups have been debating strategies for implementing a transgender policy within the Chicago Police Department, aimed making police more sensitive to gender-variant and transgender people.

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is looking into the matter.

"We take all allegations of inappropriate or unprofessional communications seriously," OEMC said in a statement. "At this time, however, we are still in the process of authenticating the tape."

String of weekend robberies

Another Lakeview resident is recovering after he was assaulted and robbed Saturday. Adam Bogucki, said he was on his way to training early Saturday morning when he was followed, attacked and then robbed.

According to police, the incident occurred on the 3300 block of N. Broadway at approximately 6:00 a.m.

Bogucki stopped at 7-Eleven on his way to training that morning. On his way out, he said he noticed a gender non-conforming person behind him.

"I kind of felt she was following me," he said.

According to Bogucki, she asked for the time and then for 50 cents to make a call. She continued to follow him as he crossed the street to get away.

"She said 'give me your phone,'" Bogucki said.

He refused, at which point the attacker pepper sprayed him in the face, grabbed his gym bag and pulled until he fell to the ground in the parking lot of Starbucks.

She grabbed his phone from the ground and ran away. Bogucki and a witness called police, who arrested a suspect shortly after.

J. Armstrong is in custody for the robbery and has been ordered held on $75,000 bond for the robbery, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

Bogucki said he twisted his knee but did not sustain significant injuries. He was not taken to the hospital.

His phone was returned to him shortly after the incident, which he said left him shaken up. Bogucki said he takes the same route to training every Saturday morning.

"Even though I feel like I'm careful, I think I was just overly confident," he said.

At least one other iPhone robbery hit Lakeview that morning, according to police.

A victim was waiting for a bus at 820 W. Belmont at approximately 5:30 a.m. One offender grabbed the victim's cell phone and ran. When the victim chased the attacker, the attacker turned around with a knife.

A recording of Sunday morning's police scanner suggests that a final robbery occurred near Sheffield and Belmont. That incident also involved iPhone theft. The offender was described as male.

Windy City Times will update this story as details become available.


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